Tadeusz Janczar

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Kanal Review


Excellent
Beloved Polish director Andrzej Wajda was at his career peak right at the beginning of it, in the 1950s, when the scars of WWII were still fresh, particularly in Poland.

Wajda may very well have produced his finest film ever in 1957 with Kanal (literally "Canal"), about the dying days of the two-month long Polish resistance against the Germans in late 1944 (though the setting is real, the story itself appears completely fictional). The film begins with the usual sparring in the ghetto, as Nazis are killed by guerrillas then hunted down by an endless flood of soldiers behind them. Eventually the war is lost (and a narrator intones mournfully that we're witnessing a tragedy right at the beginning, so I'm not spoiling anything) and the remaining few dozen survivors reluctantly enter the sewers of Warsaw to try and escape to a liberated part of town.

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